Saturday, 12 April 2014


The first year of office for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Cabinet is over and it has had its own successes and challenges. This week Ministers went on a self appraisal media offensive with most of them reporting what they described as their achievements when indeed some of them were events without much impact on the lives of Kenyans. For the first time today, the Star publishes a report card for the President and his Ministers. We intend to issue an annual report card going forward. This year’s report card shows that, despite a few good performers, Uhuru`s team is at best average and at worst dismal. While the President has scored slightly above average with a B Grade (Good, but room for improvement) his security Minister Joseph ole Lenku has performed dismally (F You’re fired).

How the executive fared in the first year in office
A. You are doing an excellent job
B. Good, but room for improvement
C. You are okay
D. Get your act together
E. Resign
F. Please fire him, Mr President
President Uhuru Kenyatta: B
Practice, they say, makes perfect. With more than a decade experience in public service and having held high profile ministerial dockets, one might have expected Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency to quickly mature and even improve as he grew into the role. Instead, Uhuru’s performance has deteriorated steadily. If there is one area where Uhuru deserves an A+ though, it is his charm offensive. He mounted a challenge against ICC by getting African countries to back him. The President is likeable and has seen crowds go wild when he appears in public places. But this is not enough to boost his grade one year on. The President has performed well below average when it comes to security. His two ministers for Interior and Defence Joseph ole Lenku and Raychelle Omamo respectively, should have been fired long ago. They have failed to protect Kenyans and their properties. The ministers, who he plucked from the private sector where they were successful, have also performed dismally compared to those who rose through the public service such as Michael Kamau of Transport, Henry Rotich of Finance, Amina Mohammed of Foreign Affairs and Anne Waiguru, who worked in the public service before joining the private sector. Those from the private sector have taken long to settle and this has affected their performance. Besides security, the President has struggled with the cost of living, macro and microeconomic policies which have failed to lower interest rates and devolution which has become a source of quarrel between the national government and governors. Having made key public service appointments in the last one year, the President’s appointments have done little to inspire confidence among Kenyans.

Deputy President William Ruto: C
Described by some as young, ambitious, smart and energetic, William Ruto has demonstrated his loyalty to the President in the last one year. He has diligently represented the President at functions and successfully acted as president when the Head of State is out of the country. The surprise is that this arrangement between the two men has lasted for five years contrary to Jubilee opponents who predicted that Uhuru and Ruto will walk away from each other within a year. Ruto has been content with being number two even when his budget was taken to the presidency. As the coordinator of government ministries, Ruto has ensured ministers have remained on track in delivering promises Jubilee made. Many of his supporters believe that he could and should have done more to ensure Jubilee ministers deliver more to Kenyans. Ruto has juggled well his case at the International Criminal Court and serving the nation. A fierce defender of Jubilee administration, Ruto has performed somewhat well in containing discontent within his URP party that could have easily boiled to major cracks in Jubilee. The DP has succeeded in establishing the Office of the Deputy President but he is yet to come up with something concrete that Kenyans will remember him for. We believe you can do better this year. Your score for the year is C.

 Michael Kamau - Transport and Infrastructure: C
 Apart from imposition of restrictions on night-time operations and re-introduction of breathalyzers to curb drunk driving, your ministry has not done anything else that ordinary Kenyans can remember. It is only after the President’s directive that your ministry moved to work on improving efficiency and ease congestion at the Port of Mombasa. Today, most roads across the country are in pathetic condition, some totally impassable. The abuse of the taxpayer’s money has been evident in the non-completion of various road projects across the country. The Michuki rules, introduced in 2004 by the then Transport minister, late John Michuki, remain largely ignored. Indeed, you are on record saying that the regulations would not be brought back as some of them were no longer implementable. Despite a number of road safety campaigns by your ministry, the country continues to witness a series of tragic road accidents. The governors have constantly complained that your ministry has refused to devolve the county roads maintenance function. The public transport sector, particularly in the capital city is still chaotic and poorly regulated. Just a few days ago, the matatu and taxi operators brought the city almost to a standstill, blocking roads in protest. The railway transport remains near dysfunctional. The Standard Gauge Railway project remains riddled with controversies. One year on, since you took charge, the transport sector is still in complete shambles. That is why you deserve a C as the overall score.
 Phyllis Kandie - East African Affairs, Tourism: D
 Not many Kenyans will easily recognise you if you took a walk along any of the streets of Nairobi. Most of your activities have mainly revolved around East African Community (EAC). Last November, there was the signing of the East African Monetary Union by the 15th Summit of EAC Heads of State and Governments in Kampala, Uganda. To an extent, your ministry takes credit for its commitment to EAC integration process. However, you are less visible on issues touching on commerce and tourism. Most of what has been coming from you on these two critical sectors are proposals. For example, the proposal to establish a World Trade Centre in Nairobi remains a good idea, but for now it is just a proposal. What Kenyans have been looking for are actions as opposed to proposals. Before taking office, one of your promises was to rationalize licensing procedures in order to reduce the time it takes to register companies and work on reduction of non-tariff barriers to business. Little progress has been registered on that. You are hardly seen marketing Kenya as a classic tourists’ destination.
 Fred Matiang’i - Information and Communication: D
 The appointment of Matiang’i to the ICT docket was hailed by many due to his professional background. He had worked as an IT consultant with local and international companies. While his ministry has not achieved as much as expected, the cabinet secretary can blame it on bureaucracy and the courts for the slow progress. He is the man who is to oversee the provision of solar-powered laptops to pupils, migration to digital broadcasting and setting up a national address system to allow home delivery of mails. His ministry is also supposed to spearhead the development of the Konza Technopolis, which is set to position Kenya as the ICT powerhouse in eastern Africa. The provision of laptops is stuck within Parliament while the migration to digital migration was stopped by the courts after key players sued the government. There is little or no progress in the Jubilee government’s promise for the establishment of a smart universal single registration system from birth. The system would see all data relating to an individual such national identity registration, voter registration, NHIF and NSSF integrated.
James Wainana - Health: B
He could easily pass for the stone that the builders rejected. When President Uhuru Kenyatta plucked him from the banking idustry to head one of the biggest ministries, doctors raised hue and cry. They rejected him saying they had been conned for much too long, getting political cronies from Gen (Rtd) Jackson Mulinge to political scientist Prof Anyang Nyong’o for ministers. They complained that one of their own should have been appointed the minister. He was tasked to implement a populist campaign promise of Jubilee that they would offer free maternity services to expectant mothers. A recent survey by Ipsos Synovate showed that Kenyans think highly of his achievements. Asked to state two achievements of Jubilee government in the last one year, more Kenyans named “improved health-care” than any other thing.
Davis Chirchir - Energy: D
 The energy sector has been one of the key areas that the government has targeted for growth. The plan is bring down the cost of energy which will translate to lower cost of doing business in the country. While there has been some progress, Chirchir needs to come up with plans that will expedite the process, especially in the production of energy. In the past year, the ministry has made some progress in power generation, transmission and electricity distribution, and oil-gas exploration. The ministry has rolled out a plan to increase the supply of power in the next 36 months to add 5,538 megawatts into the national grid. The roadmap shifts from over-reliance on hydro and expensive thermal power to the more reliable green and cheaper natural gas coal-fired power plants. About 3,196 GWh of electricity were produced in the last six months using natural hydro, wind and geothermal resources as well as thermal fuel generated from green sources.
Charity Ngilu - Land and Housing: E
Things have gone from bad to worse for one of the political appointees in the Uhuru cabinet. From her controversial past in the ministries of Health and Water to her latest fights with the National Lands Commission. One positive thing though the minister has tried to do is issue title deeds to the people of Coast province and push for the digitalisation of land records. Ngilu’s ministry has been embroiled in a controversial hiring decision which found its way to Parliament. Ngilu was censured for breaking the law in creating directorates of Lands Administration, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works and appointing junior officers to take charge. Kenyans expected a lot from Minister Ngilu. She promised to solve land issues that took Kenya to violence in 2007 and to build houses for millions of Kenyans. But she has failed to show proof that Kenyans will have more affordable houses in five years let alone sorting out the land problems.
Kambi Kazungu - Labour: D
He is one of the three politicians serving Uhuru’s first cabinet. During his parliamentary vetting, Kazungu told MPs that “when it comes to corruption, I am known. I lead at the front.” He meant he is a vociferous fighter of corruption. Kazungu’s first year in office has been dogged by one controversy after another. The scandal of NSSF’s Tassia II Project remains one of the highlights of the year. It remains unresolved to date. The usual game of musical chairs at NSSF continued under his watch with the surprise sacking of managing trustee Tom Odongo. The matter ended up in court. Under his watch, the Kenyan workers mandatory contribution to NSSF was increased without the ministry putting in place measures to curb the systematic orgy of looting which is characteristic of the fund. Other controversies included Hazina Towers project.
Joseph Ole Lenku - Interior and National Coordination: F
Probably giving a hotelier the job of managing among other things the security docket in the executive was not one of the wisest moves by the Jubilee government. His less than one year in office has been haunted by major administrative and political goofs reflecting badly on the entire government. It is surprising that the President and Deputy President are yet to feel that Ole Lenku does not fit in his position. With no political or security background, the Cabinet Secretary has been a major laughingstock of the country due to his many goofs. No one will ever forget his “burning mattresses” comment during the Westgate terror siege. Lenku has taken a long time to respond to unrest or questions over incidences as it happened after the Masjid Musa mosque attack in Mombasa. The Interior and National Coordination Ministry is one that is always visible and which deals with core issues relating to the welfare of all Kenyans. To sum it up, cabinet secretary Ole Lenku is a non-performer who either needs to be fired or moved to a softer ministry such as tourism.
Amina Mohammed- Foreign Affairs: C
As a career diplomat, Amina has managed to steer the ministry more effectively than most of her predecessors. However, it is more notable that her work has mostly involved dealing with the ICC where President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are charged with crimes against humanity. In particular, Amina led the lobbying for the amendment of the ICC rules and regulations so as Uhuru and Ruto are not required to be in court during their trial. While this has helped have the President in the country throughout, it has also failed to clearly define Kenya’s foreign policy which is seen to be against international justice. Away from the ICC, the foreign affairs office has managed to lobby for Kenyans to take up various positions in international bodies.Kenya has also entered into a number of bilateral agreements within and outside the East African Region. In line with the constitution, the ministry has developed the Diaspora Web portal to reach, connect and engage with Kenyans who are abroad.
Henry Rotich - Finance: C
‘Mixed fortunes’is the best phrase to describe Rotich’s one year in office. A month into office, he was tasked with outlining the executive’s 2013/2014 budget policy. In the budget, Rotich took back what he gave through introduction of measures such as Railway Development Levy, which experts warned could fuel inflation. Before Christmas last year, Rotich announced Sh121 billion austerity measures banning business class air travel, use of government vehicles outside working hours and attendance of international conferences. However when time came to putting money where his mouth was, Rotich failed miserably. The cabinet retreated to a luxurious hotel in Nanyuki and the best Rotich could do was use semantics to defend his colleagues. “The text of the circular makes it crystal clear that I preferred government officers to stay in governmentowned facilities; I did not require them to do so,” he said regarding the retreat. There are no signs the economy has improved and inflation rates keep rising.
Najib Balala - Mining: C
The mining sector is another area that the government is placing emphasis on especially with the discovery of various minerals. Not much has happened in terms of growth of revenue from mining in the last one year. Balala’s ministry has also been dogged by controversies over mining licences which are slowly being solved. Most of the work in the last one year has been mostly related to policy matters. The ministry has drafted the Minerals and Mining Policy and Mining Bill 2014 which will repeal legislation on mining and establish a clear legal framework for the management of mineral resources in Kenya. Balala has also seen the established a Mineral Audit Unit that will ensure the government gets its true share of mineral proceeds in form of royalties, fees and other charges. The mining ministry has also initiated upgrading of cadastre system, a computerised register of mining rights as well as a management tool for licensing and concessioning. Also initiated is a national airborne geophysical survey to reveal areas of potential mineral wealth, which will lead to effective planning, exploration and exploitation of mineral resources.
Adan Mohammed - Industrialisation: D
With all due respect, he is perhaps the most colourless cabinet secretary in President Uhuru’s government. Plucked from the lucrative private sector, Mohammed was tasked with giving hope and practical solutions to millions of Kenyan entrepreneurs. A year later, no one can say with certainty whether he has done anything let alone inspire change. Nothing much has been heard of his ministry and nothing has reverberated on the ground from the golden touch everyone expected from him. He is just there. His ministry’s three internal programmes - 4K’s, Business Sector Programme Support and Private Sector Development Strategy have not yielded many results. It is no surprising therefore that in the ministry’s website, only three events appear in the “news and events” category one year later. Yet Mohammed was a successful banker, rising to position of chief administrative officre for Barclays Bank across Africa before joining the Cabinet.
Hassan Wario - Culture and Sports: C
Wario’s most visible and biggest project was the Kenya at 50 celebrations. Though the event had little hitches, the process was marred with controversy and there are still some unanswered questions on the spending for the event. There is also little to see on the improvement of sports especially in talent development and establishment of sports facilities. However, it is laudable that the government has started giving cash awards to motivate athletes. Rehabilitation of three regional stadia: Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, Mombasa Municipal Stadium, and Moi-Kisumu Municipal Stadium has also taken a slow start and this can easily deny the country an opportunity to host international competitions. The promise of an International Sports Academy phase 1 at the Moi International Sports Centre is also yet to be realised. When it is complete, the academy should have hostels, four football and two rugby pitches. In the arts, the ministry started the construction of the International Arts and Culture Centre.
Prof Judi Wakhungu - Environment, Water and Natural Resources: D
Due to her professional background, Kenyans were assured that the environment was in good hands. This optimism was based on the fact that Judi Wangalwa Wakhungu is a holder of a PHD in Energy Resources Management and just before her appointment, she was the Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies. However, despite her iron-clad CV, her stint at the ministry has been less then inspiring. Under her watch, the country is going through unprecedented poaching of wildlife, which is tottering on a national disaster. According to interpol, Kenya is the conduit for smuggling across East Africa. It is now the worst in the world for ivory trafficking. In the country’s worst poaching incident last year, 11 elephants were killed by a gang of Somali poachers in Tsavo East national park.The cabinet secretary has further failed to appoint a new board at the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Felix Koskei - Agriculture: C
 He took one of the most important ministries which is for all intents and purposes the backbone of the Kenyan economy. The ministry stands out as one which has made more promises than the things it has implemented. At the cabinet briefings earlier this week, a journalist illustrated this when she asked PS Sicily Kariuki what else the ministry had done apart from the Galana food security project. Among the promises often rehashed in speeches by the minister and the president is mechanisation of farming, putting up slaughter houses in arid and semi arid areas, commencement of value addition programmes for agricultural production, doubling strategic grain reserve from 22 per cent to 44 per cent of annual consumption and insurance scheme for farmers.
Anne Waiguru - Devolution and Planning: C
Waiguru has been in government for many years and her above-average performance could be attributed to this fact. The Devolution and Planning Ministry is the largest in terms of executive decisions that have to be made and thus Waiguru has often had her plate full. Despite the teething problems that devolution has faced, other areas in her ministry appear to be working relatively well. On Devolution, Waiguru needs to ensure that the executive’s commitment to ensuring a smooth transition is not lost in the politics. One of Waiguru’s major strength is her open communication and regular updates on what her ministry is doing. She demonstrated this in the way she handled the devolution of human resource to the counties and how she addressed the issues that were arising such as payroll matters. The resettlement of IDPS is nearly complete and the youth department also appears to have found its footing with the launch of the Uwezo Fund and the gazettement of the rule that 30 per cent of government tenders should be given to the youth. However, Waiguru must lead her ministry in deliberate steps to deal with unemployment.
Prof Jacob Kaimenyi - Education: D
Perhaps the most controversial of all ministers, Prof Kaimenyi was plucked from academia to lead the huge ministry which is tasked with executing Jubilee flagship project: laptops for primary schools. His handling of the project, the most popular of Jubilee campaign manifesto, has been disastrous thus far. There is no indication as to when the laptops will land following a controversial tendering process which has left eggs on the face of the administration. He is the first Jubilee minister to be asked the dreadful question: Are you going to resign? Yet Kaimenyi has inherited immense goodwill and work done by his predecessor the late Mutula Kilonzo. The groundwork for far reaching reforms in legislative framework, attitudes and ethos had already been made. In the one year he has been in office, Kaimenyi has run into one scandal after another. From the botched laptop process to the bungled form one selection exercise and to the lecturers’ strike last month. Kaimenyi must cut down his lectures, fold his sleeves and deliver Jubilee manifesto on education.
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